Since the demise of the Silent Film in the final year of the 1920s, few filmmakers have dared to make a feature-length movie sans the element of sound. Sure, there have been numerable short subjects manufactured by up-and-coming students and/or individuals experimenting with the whole $film as art" process. There have even been homages to the Silent Era in both dramatic (such as Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist) and comical aspects (Mel Brooks' Silent Movie comes instantly to mind), but most of those entries into the annals of cinema rarely remove themselves from doing little more than showing their respect for the long-gone era prior to those darned "talkies."
And then there's experimental filmmaker Godfrey Reggio's Qatsi Trilogy. Deciding that it was, in fact, possible to make a movie without dialogue or narration — and that one could rely on sights and sounds (à la a silent movie, which would usually play onscreen with live organ or piano accompaniment) to convey a message, Reggio created his masterpiece, Koyaanisqatsi in 1982. Not only did he confuse millions of already-befuddled Americans who were thoroughly convinced it was just another damn foreign film, but he also managed to give us a thought-provoking look at the landscapes of the United States, with a powerful (and memorable) score accompanying the work by none other than Philip Glass.
Seeing the state of the nation (nay, the world) in the early '80s as something that was thoroughly lopsided either way you looked at it, Reggio dubbed his work from a Hopi expression meaning "Life Out of Balance" — a subtitle that often complements the film's unfamiliar looking/sounding name. The cast-less documentary feature jots from one portion of the US to another, with very little common connection other than to convey Reggio's implication that our living in such as a technologically-advanced world is not as highly developed as we might think it to be. Needless to say, Koyaanisqatsi managed to become a cult film, and Reggio followed it up with a second film, Powaqqatsi in 1988.